DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 53: Lunch
solemn
buryyourdemons wrote in damned
There was little to be said of the daily business that went on. He allowed himself to be shuffled, mind embedded too deeply in things he shouldn't be dwelling on. The night was over, the shadows had vanished, and there was little more than bad memories to be left in their stead. This was logic, pure and simple, and should have been reassuring but for the whispered accusations made by his own. Of all things that his mind moved to unconsciously focus on, it was one of the first things spoken. That he could kill himself and nothing would stop him.

Which was pointless. In the whole of its entirety. Gaara had not truly moved in that way for time past--And now, even, he had goals and aspirations that he would see come to pass before he gave anything of himself away. He was working for what he believed in; he was working to become acknowledged by others as himself, and not as what he was created for. And there was no point to anything that thing had said.

His thoughts shifted, moved over the night, each dark statement echoed by an internal vow of his own, a denial of returning to what he once was. He still had yet to seek out Temari--his sister, too, would have been confronted by her demons, and there was a edge of concern in that thought. Considering all of this, he seated himself in a place near the wall, glancing at the doorway every few moments.

[sister dear.]

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Today's intercom messages were hard for L to analyze, past the superficial interpretations that were the most obvious. If he considered the announcements out of context, it seemed that Landel was indeed experiencing a fit of organizational zeal; however, the previous night's events made him doubt that there was nothing more to it. The shadows...? Or maybe he's discovered that an item has vanished from his files. Has it? Are his files like the other files, the ones we can get to, that replace themselves every night? Or are they one of those things that change?

L had missed breakfast, and recognized the need to eat something more substantial than fruit salad alone; keeping his strength up was imperative. He hesitated, pressed his lips together, let out a soft, resigned snort, and added several slices of vegetable pizza to his tray. The next few minutes were occupied by pouring himself a cup of apple juice and making his way to a seat at the far end of an unoccupied table. His session with Venkman and Jones had left him wanting some peace.

He could manage the tray on his own today with no trouble--no shaking hands, no weakness, a steady gait. That gave him a sense of satisfaction, which was followed by quick, bristling irritation; he narrowed his eyes as he picked up his fork. Even if his ongoing recovery from medical abuse was a relief, the abuse itself had been a violation. Returning to his usual state, as far as it was possible, was his right, not an achievement.

[Jungle Claire!]

Edited at 2010-12-01 08:40 am (UTC)

Though she had spent the last shift smiling to herself and spoiling Goku with sweets, Claire's foul mood trickled back in as she meandered into the cafeteria and the smell hit her nose. Placing the scent was a bit difficult, but it clicked just a moment before she spotted a man stroll by with his tray in full view. Pizza. Sickly and greasy, hot and oh so tempting. Her stomach had resumed its shrieking this morning, and now it was doubling its efforts to get her to eat. Claire patted the lumps in her pocket. She had her meal. A safe meal, sealed in wrappers and hailing from the outside, so there was no way anyone would have tampered with it.

The candies seemed to pale in comparison to the smell. Cheese and meat and tomato sauce, all the toppings lined up one after another on their own round pans. She watched as the cheese clung to the pan below, stretching as the kitchen girl scooped it up and slid it onto a waiting plate. It felt like a stab to the gut, this smell. Claire grimaced, but took her share without comment and bustled off to find a garbage can.

Except the nurses were watching her this time.

A furtive glance to the left revealed the morning nurse, eying her like a hawk. Claire froze. She fidgeted. After a tense moment in the headlights, she ventured forward again and swung ever so slightly to the left. She arrived at a waiting seat instead of the garbage can.

There was a man there around her age, his black hair mussed by a halo of bandages. He had eyes like Ben, dark but just as soulless and wide. Pale like she hadn't seen in years. Claire stared for some time, gauging him silently before wordlessly sliding her tray onto the table. There weren't any empty tables left. And he was a better bet for silence than the other, perkier looking patients. The man was looking awfully miserable.

Claire hunched into her seat and ignored him for the time being. Another glance over the shoulder proved the nurse was still watching behind her back. A flicker of anger licked at her chest, and she scowled back before turning to her tray.

Carefully as she could, Claire dug her fingers into her pocket. She was going to eat her own stuff today and god help whoever tried to stop her. She was not touching the pizza.

Edited at 2010-12-02 07:13 am (UTC)

The peace didn't last long. A young woman hovered near the seat across from him for a while, staring at him, and after a moment, he looked up from his food to stare back at her. He was intrigued by what he saw.

Petite; not much larger than Amane, with the same blonde hair and blue eyes that Amane affected. Not much like Amane in any other way, though--strange, furtive movements, looked like she'd been living in someone's attic. Hyper-vigilant. Possibly one of the patients who could probably benefit from real psychiatric care. She took a long time to decide whether or not to sit near him, eventually capitulating and sliding her tray onto the table, but she didn't fix him with the same scowl that she'd shot at the nurse.

She was digging around in her pocket--why? He watched her with curiosity too open to be polite.

"You're looking for something?" In spite of the softness of his voice, something in his tone suggested that he expected her to answer him.

Her eyes flicked up to meet his, the gaze unwavering. He was quiet, but he wasn't taking silence for an answer. That much she could tell.

"My lunch," Claire whispered back.

With small, measured moves, she managed to slip out one of the bars with as little movement from her arm as possible. She didn't want the nurses to catch on to the fact that she had a stash of candy in her pocket. They'd take it all away. Probably beat her too, because there was no way for Claire to have found the candy around her aside from stealing it.

The wrapper was peeled away in her lap. Claire struggled to both hurry the process along and keep the motions from being obvious, but she was so hungry and the smell of the pizza was murder on her nose. Once finished, the wrapper was thrust back into the pocket with a louder crinkle than she'd hoped. Half the bar disappeared into her mouth.

Too sweet. Sticky and so sweet that her tongue recoiled on the first touch, it was almost making her sick. She didn't remember candy being this bad before. But it was food, and Claire needed it. The bottom half of the bar was dropped into her lap and she covered her mouth, teeth working doggedly through the thick caramel and crunching all the peanuts.

She caught the man's eyes again as she chewed ferociously on the bar. Watched him. Wondered if he had the nerve to call her out to the nurses.

If he did, Claire would be sure to remember his face.

No, not an attic. It was easy for L to adopt the metaphor, but the girl had tanned skin--weathered, like she'd spent time out in the elements, more than just a week or two. The tan looked current, although it wasn't dark. Still, there was no way to tell how closely tied it was to her rat's nest of hair and her general air of trauma and paranoia. What happened to her?

She'd only said two words, but he could discern an accent--probably Australian. In order to confirm his suspicions about her origins, he'd have to get her to talk to him a little more.

His gaze became more intent, more interested, when she produced her "lunch." Her movements were sneaky, but the presence of the staff was adequate explanation for them. Still, why would she choose a chocolate bar smaller than the palm of her hand over pizza that had been freely provided? The choice was weird. Most people didn't share his dietary proclivities; even if they did, it should be obvious that candy alone, in small amounts, wouldn't provide enough nutrition to help someone survive. Anorexia? She was thin, but he doubted it.

"Where did you find that? It won't be very filling; you should keep your strength up. You don't like pizza?"

At the moment, the girl seemed like she would be unable to fend for herself, to a hopeless degree. There was always a possibility that her feral demeanor was a sign of a wild, tooth-and-claw nature, but if that were the case, she should have been able to take better care of herself to begin with, without arriving at her her current state. --Shouldn't she?

Impossible to say without knowing more.

Edited at 2010-12-09 08:10 am (UTC)

"I got it from a town. A pet store." She worked through the last of the bite, swallowing the mess of caramel and chocolate with a thick gulp. Her stomach stilled for a moment. It resumed its coiling and growling, louder than ever. She snatched the second half back from her lap and talked around bites.

The man didn't look like he was about to rat her out. Not yet, at least. He was shocked, black eyes widening into perfect circles. The resemblance to Ben was uncanny now, even if their stare was the sole thing they had in common. "I used to like pizza. I don't know about now." Pause - chew. Getting through the caramel was like trying to chew a sticky rock. Maybe the candy was old? She waited until the bar went soft in her mouth before carrying on. "And I don't trust their food here."

"Doyleton?" He couldn't remember having seen her around as early as Saturday... had he been slipping? It was possible, in light of Monday night's events, but also possible that she had found some other way into town at some point in the last few nights. His own portal ring would supposedly take him to the hardware store if he broke the stone, and her ignorance of Doyleton's name would make sense if she had only visited there with the help of a ring. That would also confirm that at least some of the rings worked as advertised.

The strangeness of some of her other comments kept him from dwelling too much on this train of thought. "Used to like pizza" but "doesn't know about now"? A situation where pizza has been inaccessible for some time would also explain her appearance, but that still doesn't tell me what the situation was. The details were beginning to add up, but he could only make assumptions. This wasn't an interrogation, nor was it urgent; it would be easier to acquire the information in bits and pieces than to demand it.

"The food from the buffet is safe to eat, or at least it has been so far. However, I'm not sure that I can say the same for supper... the meals are served to us on a specific, individual basis. If they wanted to tamper with the food, it would make the most sense to do it then. They would have no trouble keeping both a control group and an experimental group."

He paused. He had been careful to keep any sensationalism out of his tone, to remain nonchalant; the idea was to reassure the girl. Given her demeanor, he wasn't convinced that she could be reassured. "There's no point in tampering with the buffet food unless they want to purge the patient body, in which case refusing to eat it would only mean that they would eliminate you some other way."

He thought again of his suspicions: a modified toxin, maybe involving domoic acid, could be used to affect the patients' memories. So far, two attempts to reach the experimental lab to try to find some way to test for it had gone only as far as the door to the connecting corridor, and because it had been days since either he or Lunge was affected, he suspected that any evidence that might still be in their blood would be fading. Testing hair clippings might be a possibility, but not for a few weeks; the idea of being in the Institute long enough for that plan to be workable caused his stomach to clench.

Even if Landel was developing experimental methods of altering memories, that still left the question of his purpose. What kind of application would such a substance have? Why are they so determined to make us believe that each of us is someone else?

Frowning, he cut the point off of one of the slices of pizza, and began to eat it.

Edited at 2010-12-16 09:32 pm (UTC)

Andrew hadn't mentioned what its name was. Claire's brow furrowed as she tried to recall some telling street sign, a title on a placard. Maybe if she had been paying more attention she would have noticed something, but they had been preoccupied even before the shadows came. She raised her brows and shook her head. "I don't know. I've never seen it before."

She swallowed heavily, eyes darting around to keep track of the nurses circling the cafeteria. They were under heavy watch. Claire was starving, but she wasn't sure if she could risk pulling out another bar at the moment. Instead she turned her attention back to the conversation, willing the violent revolt in her stomach to quiet down so she could focus.

"You know, everybody keeps saying that, but nobody's given me any way to prove it. Unless you're saying you've tested it yourself." That notion earned a roll of her eyes. Like he had the resources to do it. Like any of them did. "You can't always tell what the effects are from drugs when you're on them. You might think you're normal, that you're doing fine. But you're not. So if you'll excuse me, I'll just decide for myself what's safe to eat, okay?"

He was smart, she would give him that much. Or at least he acted like it. That didn't mean she was willing to take his word for anything.

"If they were trying to purge us, why would they bother setting up the institute in the first place? All these monsters? The nurses during daylight? There's gotta be another reason why we're here. Otherwise they would have just shot us and been done with it." Claire gave a frustrated huff and shot a glare at a passing nurse, eyes tracing her every step as she stalked by their table. "There's more than one reason to drug somebody."

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